Whelehans Health Blog

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Can Co-enzyme Q10 reduce side effects from statins (cholesterol medicines)?

Like all medication, there is a possibility of side effects with statins. The most serious side effect of statins is a muscle complaint called myalgia, characterised by muscle pain and weakness. It is estimated that one in 1000 people using statins may suffer from myalgia and one in 10,000 may suffer a more serious form of it called rhabdomyolysis. You should report to your doctor immediately if you suffer from muscle pain, tenderness or weakness while taking a statin. Statins can also cause gastrointestinal side effects and liver problems in some people (liver function tests from your GP prevents any risk of liver problems.)

Thankfully side effects a rare. While side effects can sometimes be troublesome it is important to also appreciate the very real benefits statins do provide. Research has found that in high-risk groups for heart disease, for every eight people who take a statin, one of those people would have otherwise had a (possible fatal) heart attack or stroke if they hadn’t been prescribed a statin. Most experts agree that the benefits of statins outweigh the risks.

Preventing Side Effects
Statins reduce Co Enzyme Q10, a vital nutrient in almost every cell of the body. Reduction in the level of Co-enzyme Q10 is considered a factor for many of the side effects of statins. Co Enzyme Q10 may help prevent side effects of statins such as:
  • Headaches
  • Tired aching muscles
  • Muscle cramps
  • General fatigue
Thankfully these side effects are quit rare. If you currently take a statin and experience a side effect such as headache, Co Enzyme Q10 may be beneficial. There is anecdotal evidence that Co Enzyme Q10 stop possible side effects of statins in some people. However NHS Evidence (the NHS research database) advises that while there is some evidence showing that Co-enzyme Q10 may help prevent side effects, it advises there is not enough well designed studies to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Other benefits of Co-Enzyme Q10?
Our bodies make CoQ10, and our cells use it to produce energy the body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. Co enzyme Co10 is thought to help release energy and speed recovery from exercise. There are various claims that it helps fight heart disease, cancer, chronic fatigue, gum disease and muscular dystrophy. While it is harmless for most people, its effectiveness in helping the conditions would have to be questioned pending further evidence. If you do decide to try, you don’t need to spend big money on some of the “branded” Co-enzyme Q10 supplements; there are generics ones that are equally as effective; in Whelehans we stock our own generic brand Co-enzyme Q10 which offers value for money.

Disclaimer: Information in this article is general; please ensure you consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes recommended.

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Reducing the effects of overindulgence this Christmas

We want to enjoy the festive season, yet all too often, indulgence leaves us feeling heavy and bloated. Poor digestion is what causes waste gases and sluggish bowels, which in turn lead to bloating – the stomach feels uncomfortable, full and tight including a visibly rounded or bloated stomach.

Tips to reduce that bloated feeling this Christmas
Preparing healthier Christmas dinner                                                                         

Use wholegrain breads for stuffing. Cook stuffing separate to the meat so it doesn’t soak up fats during cooking. Substitute light or low-fat spreads for butter when baking. Use yoghurt or buttermilk in baked goods, both low in fat and calories. Instead of high calorie cream sauces to go with meat and starters, try making vegetable puree ones like red pepper and onion. Try to avoid eating the skin of the turkey as the skin is high in fat. Roast potatoes have a higher fat content than normal potatoes. However, if you cut them into larger chunks or use larger potatoes when cooking they will absorb less fat.

Use a smaller plate, your mind will consider it a full plate regardless of its size. Where there are choices, take a little of many things rather than lots of one thing. This ensures you are getting a balanced meal and not overloading on a fatty food. For every glass of alcohol or soft drink, have a glass of water. Water fills you up and helps wash out the excesses. Only put out some of the available food so people don’t over serve themselves. More can always come out as required. Try to eat slowly throughout the day to avoid that uncomfortable full feeling. It takes your brain a few minutes to realise you are full. If you feel full, try to resist the temptation to stuff in another mouthful. Take a break instead.

Eat fresh food instead of processed food
Many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of salt and sugar. It is important to eat more fresh food, especially for children as the vitamins and minerals from fresh food will aid their development.

Processed foods that are less healthy include 1. Canned foods. 2. White breads and pastas (whole grains versions are the healthier). 3. Packaged high-calorie snack foods such as crisps. 4. Chips. 5. High-fat convenience foods such as cans of ravioli. 6. Packaged cakes and biscuits. 7. Sugary breakfast cereals. 8. Microwaveable meals. 9. Frozen fish fingers. 10. Processed meats.

Processed meats are off particular concern. They are extremely high in fat and salt. Fresh meats, fish and hams from the butcher or meat counter in your supermarket is the healthier option. Short term over indulgence on processed foods will lead to bloating, indigestion and sluggishness. However long term use will lead to obesity and associated complications like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
For a more detailed information version of this article checkout www.whelehans.ie or ask in Whelehans Pharmacy.
Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to info@whelehans.ie